Hawaii's Fun 5: SPARK After-School, Island-Style


At SPARK, we’ve been really fortunate to work with many terrific educators and researchers over the years.  Our friends in Hawaii – Claudio Nigg and Paula Adams – are no exception.  They took the lead on a physical activity and nutrition project they called “Fun 5,” and did an exemplary job of modifying SPARK After School to meet the needs of children in beautiful Hawaii.

Fun 5 provided participating after school environments with SPARK curriculum, youth leader training, follow up support, and content-matched equipment.  A Train the Trainer model was included to foster sustainability and institutionalization of SPARK concepts and methods.

“It’s has been great to be part of the Fun 5 team since its inception in 2003,” reflected Claudio. “We are privileged to have so many wonderful SPARK trainers in our islands, some of them with the program for almost a decade.”

Paula added, “working together with different partners makes Fun 5 a really community project. Fun 5 exists thanks to those organizations making the everyday life implementation of the program a success.”

Claudio, Paula and their colleagues published a paper recently on their work (click here to see a pdf) Here are a few highlights from it:

Lessons Learned:

  1. Engaging, participatory and fun trainings – Gotta have em’!
  2. Make life easier for the staff – Don’t make them work more, but figure out how they can have more fun while they’re working
  3. Cultivate relationships – Find champions within partner organizations – and recognize them!
  4. Build local capacity – Home grown pride and ownership of the process — and outcomes
  5. Early champions – Strive to recruit key players and contributors early on and others will follow
  6. Effective program – Choosing SPARK provided credibilty and helped garner support

Selected Outcomes from Fun 5 Include:

  • Exceeded dissemination expectations, demonstrating high quality annually despite large increases in reach
  • Decreased youth time standing, sitting, and lying down by 21%
  • Increased youth time in MVPA – 140% over the 4 years!

SPARK wants to acknowledge the great efforts made by Claudio, Paula, and all the Fun 5 trainers and implementers throughout the islands!  Also, special appreciation goes to the following organizations for helping make Fun 5 an effective and efficacious project:

  • HMSA (Hawaii Medical Services Association www.hmsa.com
  • Kaho’omiki www.kahoomiki.org
  • Hawaii Department of Education
  • YMCA
  • Kamaaina Kids
  • Dream Co.
  • YCS
  • University of Hawaii
  • Kapiolani Community College
  • Maui Nutrition and Physical Activity Coalition
  • The National Afterschool Alliance
  • Hawaii 5210 Let’s go!